Can’t Forgive?

One of the greatest challenges in life is letting go of the pain of the past.

When is there a more difficult time to forgive than during the holidays?

When we see everyone posting about their amazing families and holiday traditions, it can really force feelings of hurt and anger to bubble up. Then, if we end up succumbing to the anger (and let’s face it, we all do sometimes), we can often find ourselves spiraling down a path towards depression.

When we are hurt and angry it is difficult to remember the freedom that comes from forgiveness, especially when we are alone and isolated.

We can also forget that the emotions of anger, depression, denial and bargaining are all a part of the cycle of grief.

Forgetting this can then lead us to feelings of shame and sometimes even self-hatred. 

If you are feeling alone and isolated, I want you to know that I am sorry. And I care.

If you are feeling angry or depressed, I want you to know that I am truly sorry.

You deserve to feel understood in your pain. You deserve to be loved and cared for.

You absolutely deserve the very best that life has to offer. Even if you can’t believe it right now, it is still true.

If you’re not ready to forgive yourself, or someone else, even if you don’t believe that you deserve it, would you at least be willing to practice being gentle with yourself today?

Here are 5 tips for you to tolerate anger, grief, and pain you may be experiencing today:

  1. Complete a Task Mindfully: Notice all of the sensory aspects of your task. For example wash the dishes and see how many aspects you can notice. Focus on the sound of the water or dishes clinking. Notice the smells; feel the water as it flows through your hands. When painful thoughts come in try taking a breath and letting them go.
  2. Write an Affirmation Repeatedly: I deserve peace. I am worthy of love. I am competent and in control
  3. Make a Gift for You with Materials You have on Hand: draw or paint a picture, make a comfort food and mindfully eat it, finish a project
  4. Find ONE THING that you can Truly Feel Grateful About and FEEL IT FULLY for as long as you can. Even if it is too painful to get out of bed! Feel the comfort or warmth of the covers, the coolness of the pillow…it doesn’t have to be monumental!
  5. Nurture Yourself through One of Your 5 Senses: Pick one sense and soothe yourself. Listen to calming music, have a cup of hot tea, take a warm bath, put on your favorite thing to wear.

Lovely Lady

In every state of our being, even in anger, we are always good. Let this lovely lady be your daily reminder, that you are always good. Image is hand drawn with fine point markers by Mary How. Original quote is by Lydia Singleton.

You can find all kinds of products with hand-drawn mandalas HERE:

About the Artist: Mary is an art therapist and life coach. She considers herself a modern day mindfulness expert who regularly practices herself and teaches others how to effectively incorporate mindfulness and authentic creativity into their lives. Find out more at 

Written by

Mary How, MA, ATR-BC, owner of Create MORE with Mary How is an artist, art therapist, coach, teacher and writer with nearly twenty years of experience working with survivors of trauma, mental illness and behavioral disorders. A modern day mindfulness expert, Mary uses a unique combination of cognitive restructuring, mindfulness and art in her personalized coaching and group skills classes. You can also view and purchase Mary's art in our Cusp Culture Shop.

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